by Brandon Hahn Athletic Xtreme
Does your diet take over your family life?
Dieting is hard. There’s no way around it. You diet for a show, lifestyle challenge, fitness challenge or whatever the reason. The diet lasts weeks, months, even years. That can take a toll on you and your family. How do you deal with it? Can you deal with it? How can you support them and have them support you in return?
Dealing with diet drama
As a bodybuilding (now physique) competitor, I know the difficulties firsthand. I have a wife and a 2 year old son. So, we ALL have different palates. My wife prefers traditional meals, my son would eat pancakes all day, and I prefer chicken and sweet potatoes. Cook all three, right? Wrong! My wife can deal with my diet and has learned to get used to my diet style. It’s structured and rigid because it has to be or there’s a risk for going offtrack. What was the solution? How did we deal with this issue?
1. The best advice came not from me but from a friend. It’s very easy to sound dramatic when talking about an issue especially one you are going through (think of how dramatic you may sound when you are sick). My friend laid out the nitty-gritty details. He explained about the stress I was going through to try and step onstage shredded. So, have a friend lay it out to her. Have her understand things from his or her prospective.
2. Include her in the plan. A diet is a pre-determined amount of time, thus the word “diet” rather than “lifestyle”. So, sitdown and discuss meals that cater to both needs. At first you may butt heads, however as you lay out all of the acceptable foods it’s easy to put together meals. Chances are you aren’t together 24/7 (especially if you are working) so this means planning 2 to 3 meals together.
3. Prep meals or dishes ahead of time. If pasta fits in your diet but deep-fried chicken does not, then have some chicken breasts on hand (cooked). It makes for a simple addition rather than a whole new pan and more dishes. The goal is to keep stress to a minimum for the both of you or your family.
4. Explain what this all means to you. Everyone has dreams and aspirations, if this is your dream make sure it is understood by all. Otherwise, people will think it’s another fad that will go away. People are much more supportive if they can lend a hand.
Give and receive support
The journey is a great path and one that can be shared by everyone. Be sure to include people in your journey as everyone loves a good success story. People also love being a part of that story. Allow your friends and family to train with you or catch a posing routine. If you are prepping meals, have someone come over to see how you prep them. Believe it or not, people are concerned about eating healthy, but they assume all health food is bland. Cooking healthy food does not mean bland food IF it’s prepared properly.
You could also encourage someone to join in on your journey. Again, people love a good success story “The Fit Couple”. Help someone along the way and they will return the favor. Dieting for weeks on end may not be for everyone, so make sure you find out the goals of others. Provide them support whenever possible. If you are able to give positive reinforcement it will again be returned to you.
The key is communication. If you leave things hidden then those issues can creep up in other ways. DO NOT let that happen. If it’s a secrety you intend to keep til the grave it will have consequences (and come out in other ways). Be open and honest. Honesty will get you far, and YES even in this day and age.